Are you ready for the busiest pothole season ever?

fai-potholeAfter the snow comes the thaw and as every driver knows, snow, ice and flooding can play havoc with road surfaces creating new potholes and making existing ones wider and deeper. Potholes can cause serious damage to a car and it is often the steering and suspension components that take the biggest hit. The initial impact of hitting a pothole is transferred from the tyre directly to the shock absorber which is designed to absorb impacts but can often bottom out within itself. The shock is then transferred to suspension components such as strut mounts, wishbones , control arms, link rods and ball joints. Damage to these parts can lead to wheel alignment issues affecting  the geometry of the car and cause serious steering problems.

FAI recommends that suspension and steering components should be checked by a qualified mechanic if a driver suspects there is damage. If there is damage, then the quality of the replacement component is vital. All of FAI’s steering and suspension parts are subject to a rigorous testing programme. For example, ball joints are 100% checked for visual defects and dimensional compliance using laser scanning. Also, cataphoresis coating is applied to wishbones to protect them from salt spray , water and dirt, increasing service life.  

Durability tests, including vertical and pull and push load tests are in place to test the part to destruction. This means when a factor supplies an FAI part, they can have 100% confidence in the quality.

FAI recommends that garages should always replace steering and suspension components in pairs. You can replace a rack end, tie rod end or ball joint on one side only, however, it is highly recommended to replace both sides. Both parts would have covered the same amount of miles so it is inevitable that the car or van will soon be back in the garage to have the other side replaced if this is not done at the same time. On a more technical view replacing the worn parts on both sides will provide a fully functional and secure steering and suspension system. The geometry of the vehicle will be aligned correctly resulting in a safe and comfortable drive for the driver. After any replacement of a steering and suspension part the vehicle should have a four wheel alignment. This ensures correct alignment reducing tyre wear or damage for the future.